05 April 2020
New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Sunday said that the rapid diagnostic test kits will be available soon, but only in specific areas such as areas reporting clusters or containment zones and in large migration gatherings and evacuees centres.
At a press conference here, Joint Secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal said that the new guidelines and detailed protocol on rapid diagnostic tests have been issued. It will facilitate the health authorities to quickly verify if the antibodies have formed in the people suffering from Influenza-like illness (ILI)in areas where there have been large gatherings or clusters.
"As per the advisory released on Saturday, our prime focus is on those areas where more cases have been reported or any cluster area or evacuation centre where many suspected people are in one particular area. All cases of Influenza like illness (ILI) will be tested in that particular area by the healthcare workers. Its objective is to do more effective monitoring in areas where more cases have been reported and a large population lives in clusters."
Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, Chief Scientist of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), who was also present at the press conference, said that the ICMR will start receiving rapid diagnostic testing kits in this week. "As soon as we start receiving rapid diagnostic kits, we will think of deploying them on the field. We will most likely start receiving them from Wednesday," he said.
According to the ICMR, in case of rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19, cases of ILI are to be monitored in health facilities. Any surge in cases has to be monitored and brought to the notice of the Surveillance Officer and the Chief Medical Officer for additional investigation.